Here is some important information for prospective solar customers who need fast and accurate solar quotes.
In your search for a price on rooftop solar, you have no doubt seen many solar companies flashing great looking numbers across their websites and signage. It’s very important to note that these prices are only very loosely indicative of the cost you’ll pay.
In fact, the resemblance of an advertised solar price to the price you will ultimately pay is almost always like chalk and cheese, (except in very rare circumstances). It’s also important to note, these prices, by and large, are not posted to deceive.
Consumers want to know how much, and they want to know now if only a ballpark figure. They want some numbers on which to hang their proverbial coat. The prices you see are a direct response to this consumer demand - or rather, expectation.
The final price you will pay for YOUR rooftop solar installation is only arrived at after a broad range of variables has been investigated and resolved. Most of these variables are specific to your individual circumstances.
While it is true that there are many similarities from one suburban installation to the next, ultimately, each solar installation is unique to the customer. Hence, it is nigh on impossible to provide accurate figures until your solar installer has all the pertinent information about your circumstances from you.
So just remember. Don’t get frustrated when you call a solar company or look online for an instant quote. It’s simply not possible. Most good suppliers will have a user-friendly solar calculator, but these calculators also require data from you.
This article is all about providing you with all the information you need to ensure you can get a speedy and accurate quote. We’ll go through everything you need to bring to the solar quote table.
Read each step and follow the links provided. It’s not difficult at all and provides you with the significant additional benefit of becoming more familiar with the terms, language and benefits of rooftop solar.
Before we get underway, here is a link to solar terminology. If you come across any terms or words throughout the article, of which you are unfamiliar, or that require deeper understanding, follow the link.
1. So Why Go Solar in the First Place?
The numbers never lie. There is a reason record numbers of Australian families and businesses are opting to take their power from the sun via rooftop solar. The reason is that installing an appropriate rooftop solar array has significant financial benefits.
Over the life of your array, you can save and/or earn literally thousands of dollars on your power bills. Do it right and you could have no electricity bill or even a surplus (income). If you want indicative evidence of this, look to the actions of businesses. Businesses are installing solar at such pace it is outstripping domestic demand. Solar is improving their bottom line by reducing operating costs. It will do the same at your home.
Going solar now also insulates you from the radical increases in future electricity prices. Government power policy is creating uncertainty in electricity and other power retail markets. You are paying a very hefty price for this confused policy. This situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon.
In short, solar saves you plenty of cash, reduces your carbon footprint and protects you from the machinations of government power policy. It gives you far greater control (in some cases, complete control) of how you use and pay for electricity.
Solar installations are now undoubtedly the future for powering our homes and businesses. It is wise to make the most of current government rebates and tariffs and get in the solar game now.
2. What are the Variables that Make My Solar Needs Unique?
As mentioned in the introduction, there is any number of variables that, when sounding off in concert, make your solar circumstances unique. Between you, your family and your solar retailer/installer, it’s these variables that are assessed and crunched to arrive at your ideal solar system and its cost.
Although rooftop solar is a competitive market, solar systems are just like any other consumable; product prices can and do vary significantly. This is just one variable to consider.
The bullet point list below covers the key inputs a solar installer will want to know to guide you to the best solar system for your needs.
- Your location. Your address
- How much do you pay for power per quarter?
- Your current electricity retailer and your willingness to change the retailer
- Style of the dwelling. Is it two stories, single story, semi-detached, big or small (floor space), and how many rooms/bedrooms?
- Is your home appliance heavy? How many air conditioners do you run? Do you have a chest/deep freezer, do you run a number of refrigerators? Do you have a kitchen loaded with frequently used electric appliances?
- Do you have a pool, sauna or steam room?
- The aspect of your home. Does it face north, south, east or west?
- The pitch and/or style of your roof, including materials of which it is constructed
- Immediate geography. Are you surrounded by tall trees, tall buildings or hills? Are you close to the ocean or other such corrosive environments such as heavy industry?
- How many people live in the house? Are there frequent visitors?
- Would you consider that you use more electricity during the daylight hours or in the evening?
- Do you have or intend to purchase an electric vehicle?
- Is your hot water gas or electric? What style is it?
- Do you plan to use your house for Airbnb or the like?
- Have you established a budget for your solar system?
- Are you interested in a solar panel and battery package or just the array, or perhaps battery ready?
- Do you want the absolute best quality panels and peripherals on the market?
- Do you intend to extend or renovate, perhaps add significant garden lighting? Or will you add a pool or workshop? Are more children planned? Are any extended family members such as grandparents likely to move in later down the track?
- When do you want your system installed?
It sounds like a long list. Don’t be overwhelmed; you will be able to answer most of the questions above in a brief roundtable discussion with the family. Most of the questions above require little thought, you know the answers, you’ve just never been asked the question.
At this point, if only to make sense of a few things we have mentioned above, we will direct you to: Your Ultimate Solar Buying Guide. This article will put a few things in perspective for you.
The next tasks, number 3 and 4, might require a little more effort for some of us. Now’s not the time to head for the too-hard basket, however. Think of it like this…
If your boss asked you to do a couple of overtime shifts and in return, he’d pay at least half (perhaps all) of your electricity bill for a least the next 20 years, you’d do the overtime, wouldn’t you?
Well, with a little research from you, some sun rays, and an Instyle Solar, you get exactly that. Dirt cheap electricity for the life of your system, with no catch, and you don’t have to go to the office and do the overtime.
Let’s move on to reading your electricity bill and doing a home energy audit.
3. Reading Your Electricity Bill
Your electricity bill contains a tremendous amount of valuable information. We agree, yes, there are certain figures that are very hard to swallow. We always advise that you use this ever-increasing number with a dollar sign as an incentive to pursue a solar installation, post haste.
Regardless of the ugly numbers, and the “overdue pay now” bit in threatening red, understanding all the information contained in your electricity bill is critical for a few reasons and comes with some significant benefits.
a) You will be able to understand exactly how much electricity you use and when you use it most
b) You will be able to compare and contrast your current bill and usage with different seasons and times as well as comparing with the same time last year
c) You can compare your usage with customer averages
d) Importantly, you can use the data to monitor the results of any changes you make to your home or electricity usage and habits
e) Your bill, plus a couple of items from the previous list, will allow you to successfully use a solar calculator
f) You will be able to provide your solar retailer with an accurate insight to your past and current electricity usage. This is a critical aspect of working out your solar system requirements
g) By understanding your electricity bill, you will now have the key tool for conducting your home energy usage audit. Possibly the most important step of deciphering your solar needs
h) Now comes the doing bit. Follow this link to a helpful article on how to read your electricity bill like a pro.
4. Your Energy Efficiency Audit
You’re about to spend up big on a brand new solar system. You have checked the list of variables, and you now understand how to read all of the information on your electricity bill. You’re armed and ready.
There is one last step, however, and it's very important. You need to do an energy audit on your home.
Don’t worry, we’ll show you how. Once you have read how to do it by yourself, you can still throw money at the problem and have a professional do it for you. Whichever way you go, it’s up to you. Just so long as you do it, it will save you money.
The reason is simple. You are purchasing a solar system with the view of saving significant dollars on your power bill. With an energy audit, you may already be able to drastically slash your electricity bill before you even install your new system.
Importantly, making changes to home and habit as a result of an energy audit may result in you needing to spend substantially less on your solar system.
You would be surprised how many homes still use incandescent and halogen lighting. In comparison to incandescent lights, LED lighting is 10 times cheaper to run. Now that is substantial.
Is your living room air conditioner over 15 years old, perhaps older? The running cost compared to modern units is off the scale. Are you actually aware of the optimum settings for your air-conditioning system to achieve comfort and efficiency? And are you still using the clothes drier half full on a sunny windy day?
What about the chest freezer in the garage. It has 1 leg of lamb and some bait from a fishing trip 2 years ago. Old chest freezers pull commercial levels of power. Do you really need it?
The same questions can be asked of all of your big power-heavy appliances. Your fridge, the beer fridge, the second beer fridge, your pool pump and filter, and the floodlights that set the mood in your terrace garden.
What if you knew that by changing some habits and a few old appliances you could reduce your electricity usage substantially? Importantly, you may also be able to reduce the outlay on your solar system, simply because your power demands have decreased.
This is what an energy audit can achieve for you. We strongly recommend you do one before you hit the solar quote trail. Follow this link to find out how to conduct a DIY home energy audit.
5. Plan for the Future
We mentioned this earlier in the list of variables. It warrants its own heading, however, because planning for the future ensures your new system has the capacity to deal with your future.
Little needs to be said about this. It’s obvious. Will the solar system you install today support your needs ten years from now? Will you even be living at the same address ten years from now?
On that subject, if you are planning to move in the short term, don’t let that stop you from installing solar now. When you sell, the solar system you wisely installed is likely to provide a strong incentive for prospective buyers and a better selling price for you. Read about that here.
You may be planning a couple more kids, a granny flat for the grandparents, a pool, an electric car and home cinema as part of a cape cod, or four-room extension. Anticipate these changes now. This way, you are covered as your family grows and your electricity demands blossom.
Your solar expert can help you with this speculation. Just make sure you tell them him plans for the future.
Doing your homework and basic research is a sure path to getting an accurate and speedy solar quote. Armed with a new battle pack of understanding because of your research, you can also hold a conversation with your solar professional on a level footing.
It’s perhaps wise to remind ourselves that a solar system purchase will probably be a substantial outlay with decades of consequence. We want these consequences to be super positive and rewarding on every level.
Some simple research and a proactive approach will go a very long way to ensuring success. The right information gets the right quote and gets it fast.
Imagine if you could save $300 per month because you installed the right solar system now. Now calculate what $300 per month looks like after 20 years.
Here’s a link to our solar calculator. Gather up some info and punch in the data. It’s kind of exciting really. Calculator here.
If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!
Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.
Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.
Photo credit: PromoRepublic